The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had
last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate – which can also be used in bomb making – unaware of any danger there.
Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 pounds or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren’t shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.
Yes, terrible things happen when people think the rules don’t apply to them. From grand disasters like the West Texas explosion to the Exxon Valdez to the Gulf oil spill brought to you by BP to Bill Clinton’s escapades with Monica Lewinsky to the drunk driver who kills an elderly woman to …. well the list is just endless isn’t it.
Most accidents? Yeah, they aren’t so accidental after all. They are generally the results of carelessness and lack of attention to the rules. And they are always laoded with consequences for innocent bystanders; for no sin is a private sin.